From the Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train at Union Station to the final week of the Kansas City Ballet’s performances of The Nutcracker; from the Kansas City Symphony’s Christmas Festival to The Elders at Knucklehead;s; and from Harry Connick Jr. at the Midland to, well, could it get any better than that?… Downtown will be Dazzling this week. Roll the highlight reel for the week in arts, culture and entertainment – Monday to Sunday, Dec. 17-23:
Downtown Dazzle – now in its fifth year – welcomes you to celebrate the holiday season in the neighborhoods, theaters, restaurants and destinations of Downtown KC, including Crown Center, Union Station, the Crossroads Arts District, the Power & Light District, the City Market, the Westside, the 18th & Vine Jazz District, Union Hill and the KC Streetcar. The seasonal event brings people together from across the region to explore Downtown Kansas City and celebrate the season special experiences, events and dining and shopping exclusives, including…
- Crown Center will be all aglow this week with Santa’s Gingerbread Station and EBT Santa’s Countdown to Christmas open daily during Crown Center Shops hours now through Dec. 31; Holiday Choirs performing daily from through Friday; plus the illuminated cheer from the 100-foot-tall Mayor Christmas Tree; the magic of the Ice Terrace (open daily); and two holiday stage shows (see below under Live Theater).
- Power & Light District will feature a host of holiday movie parties at the Alamo Drafthouse, including Christmas Vacation at 8 p.m. Monday and Tuesday. In addition, the district will feature the annual Ugly Sweater Party at 7 p.m. Friday at Howl at the Moon.
- Union Station – Holidays Come Alive features 25,000 lights on the indoor Grand Hall Tree alone! “The holidays at Union Station are more than lights… they are about creating holiday experiences you can’t find anywhere else. This week, the station will welcome back the 18th annual Kansas City Southern Holiday Express Train for two more days – now through Tuesday.
Kauffman Center for the Performing Arts will feature 12 holiday-inspired performances this week, including:
- Christmas Festival – Kansas City’s favorite Christmas concert tradition returns with the Kansas City Symphony and Symphony Chorus. Cherished Christmas carols and Yuletide songs, talented special guests and one jolly visitor from the North Pole are sure to fill you with holiday spirit over the final two (of seven) performances at 7 p.m. Monday and Tuesday in Helzberg Hall.
- Handel’s Messiah – The Spire Chamber Ensemble and Baroque Orchestra returns to the Kauffman Center just in time for the holidays to perform this masterpiece with period instruments like you have never heard before…inspiring, dazzling, joyous. The performance is set for 7 p.m. Wednesday in Helzberg Hall.
- The Nutcracker concludes its holiday run of 20 unforgettable performances this week in the Muriel Kauffman Theatre. The Kansas City Ballet presents this magical, Victorian-era story by E.T.A. Hoffman complete with exquisite costumes, grand sets and captivating choreography. The Nutcracker will be performed seven times this week with shows on Thursday through Sunday, with the finale beginning at 5 p.m. Sunday.
- It’s A Wonderful Life – The holiday classic film comes to life with Dimitri Timokin’s timeless score performed by a live symphony orchestra, while the full film is shown on the big screen at 7 p.m. Friday and Saturday in Helzberg Hall.
Knuckleheads – the hottest honky tonk in the Big Town – features 14 rockin’ shows this week, including The Elders in a sold-out performance at 8:30 p.m. Friday in the Garage; three performances by Danielle Nicole at 8 p.m. Thursday, 8:30 p.m. Friday and 7 p.m. Saturday in the Gospel Lounge; and the Katy Guillen & The Girls Farewell Show at 8:30 p.m. Saturday.
The Midland will light up Downtown this week with two inspired performances, including:
- Harry Connick Jr. celebrates New Orleans’ 300th birthday and the influences that shaped his career with this very special holiday performance at 8 p.m. Wednesday; and
- Jackyl returns to Downtown KC to share its wild, untamed and uncouth approach to rock ‘n’ roll with equal parts hard rock, heavy metal and Southern rock, Jackyl will rock this town at 7 p.m. Friday.
The Record Bar will light up the Crossroads with five nights of live music this week, including DJ Lee and Friends Annual Holiday Show at 7:30 p.m. Thursday; and Radkey with Drop A Grand and Bad Ideas at 8 p.m. Friday.
Sprint Center will smokin’ this week with two inspirational evenings of (a) holiday classics and (b) college hoops, including:
- For King & Country – The Grammy-winning duo, featuring Cory Asbury, presents Little Drummer Boy, The Christmas Tour at 7 p.m. Friday. The Tour features favorite Christmas carols and music from their new album, ‘burn the ships’.
- K-State – Vanderbilt will square off in a men’s collegiate basketball showdown at 6 p.m. Saturday. The 16th ranked Wildcats will be considered as the home team on the friendly KC court.
LIVE THEATER is thriving on Downtown stages, including five holiday productions this week:
- Christmas in Song featuring a blend of sacred and secular, popular and traditional, this Kansas City tradition has been called “the best Christmas show in town” and “Kansas City’s most consistently stirring Christmas show for 15 years” by critics and audiences alike. The fun continues through Sunday at Quality Hill Playhouse.
- Jingle Bells, Batman Smells – Theatre for Young America presents this glittering holiday favorite, which is runs through Saturday at the City Stage at Union Station.
- Milking Christmas – Driven by a mission to keep the holiday perfect, Macey Maid-a-Milking finds herself in a lot of trouble as the future of Christmas hangs in the balance. Directed by Missy Koonce & Rusty Sneary, the hit musical runs through Jan. 6 at The Living Room.
- Rudolph the Red-Nosed Reindeer: The Musical – Back by popular demand, the beloved television classic soars off the screen and onto the stage this holiday season. Rudolph and his friends, Clarice, Hermey the Elf, and Yukon Cornelius learn what makes you different makes you special. Performances run through Dec. 31 at The Coterie at Crown Center.
- A Spectacular Christmas Show – Singing • Dancing • Show Tunes • Christmas: These are a few of our favorite things! Holiday tunes from musical theater, innovative arrangements of Holiday classics continue through Sunday at MTH Theater at Crown Center.
ARTS – your guide to arts and culture in greater Kansas City:
- ArtsKCGo is the new, online guide to arts and cultural events in greater Kansas City – including Art in the Loop, Charlotte Street, First Fridays, the City’s all-new arts festival, Open Spaces, plus all other Downtown-centric arts events.
LIVE MUSIC – of all tastes and flavors – is performed at these Downtown venues on most nights:
- Angel’s Rock Bar in the Power & Light District
- The Black Dolphin in the Crossroads
- Blue Room in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Brewery Emperial in the Crossroads Arts District
- The Brick in the Crossroads Arts District
- The Dubliner in the Power & Light District
- Garment House in the Downtown Loop
- Gem Theater in the Historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Green Lady Lounge in the Crossroads
- Howl at the Moon in the Power & Light District
- KC Live Block! in the Power & Light District
- Kill Devil Club in the Power & Light District
- Knuckleheads Saloon in the East Bottoms
- Leinenkugel’s Kansas City in the Power & Light District
- The Majestic in the Downtown Loop
- The Midland in the Downtown Loop
- Mosaic Ultra Lounge in the Power & Light District
- Mutual Musicians Foundation in the 18th & Vine Jazz District
- The Phoenix in the Downtown Loop
- PBR Big Sky in the Power & Light District
- Prohibition Hall in the Downtown Loop
- Record Bar in the Crossroads
- The Ship in the West Bottoms
- Stockyards Brewing Company in the West Bottoms
- The Truman in the East Crossroads – Coming soon!
MUSEUMS are alive and well throughout Downtown, including these 16 destinations:
- Airline History Museum in Hangar 9 at the Downtown Airport
- American Jazz Museum in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- American Royal Museum in the West Bottoms
- Arabia Steamboat Museum in the City Market
- Black Archives of Mid-America in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Hallmark Visitors Center at Crown Center
- Historic Garment District Museum in the Downtown Loop at 801 Broadway
- Kansas City Museum in northeast KC at 3218 Gladstone Blvd.
- Money Museum at the Federal Reserve Bank of Kansas City
- Museum of Illusions at Union Station
- National Archives of Kansas City, west of Union Station
- National Collegiate Basketball Hall of Fame at the Sprint Center
- The National WWI Museum and Memorial at Liberty Memorial
- Negro Leagues Baseball Museum in the historic 18th & Vine Jazz District
- Science City at Union Station
- TWA Museum at the Downtown Airport
- Union Station Gallery at Union Station
For more of what’s happening in Downtown and Kansas City, check out our friends at VisitKC.com